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How the coronavirus has impacted OEM service

Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | August 31, 2020
Parts And Service
From the August 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Safety first
When working in facilities battling a highly infectious disease, manufacturers have had to ensure that their technicians adhere to strict infection control protocols.

Richard L. Fiore
Fiore of Carestream said when the virus first emerged in China, the company immediately began making sure an adequate supply of masks, gloves, shields, and suits were available for customer-facing service personnel in the U.S. and Canada.

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Carestream field engineers also contact customers before visits to check if there are any special protocols beyond face masks and gloves. Some facilities, particularly in hotspots, added questionnaires and temperature checks.

“We have to be cognizant of their protocols and how they're doing things,” Fiore said. “It just underscores the need to be aware of everything.”

McCallum of Siemens Healthineers said some facilities have required technicians to test for COVID-19 before coming in.

Todd Brown
Brown said that while GE already had solid infection control protocols in place, they had to rethink things that require a physical signature from customers and make sure to secure the appropriate electronic signature and documentation.

Dräger has had to implement special protocols to avoid contamination when testing and servicing ventilators.

"When going on site, the use of personal protective equipment is obviously a must in order to protect employees, customers and patients," Karchner said. "Additionally, we had to design new filtering setups to protect our test equipment for the rare instances when cross-contamination could not be ruled out."

A break in routine
While service providers did see a change in what customers wanted for service during the pandemic, it varied.

Some of Carestream’s customers delayed regular service activities.

“Their focus was on critical service situations or new installations,” said Fiore, who noted that as the pandemic progressed, more hospitals began opening up for preventative maintenance, upgrades and other non-critical service needs.

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